Regaining normal erectile function after the surgery is "rare", say researchers from Herlev Hospital in Copenhagen, who surveyed 210 men after they had a radical prostatectomy.
Just 14 men-or 6.7 per cent of the participants-responded that their erectile function was as good as before surgery, the researchers found. Although the situation can improve with time for the others, say the researchers, it will almost never return to pre-surgery levels.
The prostate gland is removed during the procedure, but nerves around the prostate are often damaged as well, and these control the ability to have an erection.
The researchers say this side effect is especially worrying as younger men are now having the procedure. Incontinence is another side effect of the procedure, but the researchers found that this was less common.
(Source: Proceedings of the European Association of Urology congress, Madrid, March 21, 2015)